Sandy Longhorn has some interesting thoughts about the very thing I am beginning to conceptualize in my head. The reading I spoke of in my previous post will be my first real reading in over five years, and I really am trying to figure out what kind of reading I want it to be.
As I said yesterday, I want to know what you think you would like to hear me read if you were going to be at an event where I would be reading my poetry. The question still stands.
I am always happy to receive advice on other aspects of the dynamics of a reading, so don't hesitate to give me any advice, all of you more experienced readers.
for Billy Colins
I’ve looked through all my poems
and I can’t find a single instance
where I use the word cicada. I think
it’s a word women are more likely to use,
feel more comfortable writing about,
paper wings and all. I looked around
and I could not find a single male poet
who used cicada in a poem naturally,
made me feel like it had always been there
waiting to be discovered. Not even
John Ashbery used cicada, unless
he has a dead one hidden beneath his palm
forgetting its mention, but I don’t think so.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading
poems about cicadas, where there’s one,
there’s always a swarm. Whenever
I try putting a specific word in a poem
I fail miserably. I too, cloud the air
with a single word, make it the elephant
in the room, hoping everyone will learn
to accept it as it is. I can’t do that with cicada.
It’s too demanding. When you say the word “cicada”
everyone stops, expecting you to use words
which imitate their sound, talk about children
playing in the glow of dusk―
I can admit I am not a good enough writer
to redefine the southern landscape. What’s more
the word cicada inevitably forces us
to use words like crescendo or gothic
inciting public riots of sleep.